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Russia 1917: As We Saw It

The Socialist Standard described the Council of Soldiers' and Workers' Deputies as a 'broken reed' for supporting the continuance of the war.

That we have due justification for refusing to slap the Russian on the back, with expressions of sickly sentiment, congratulating him upon having achieved his emancipation (sic !) is clearly shown by the fact that the Council of Soldiers' and Workers' Deputies despatched a congratulatory message to the Leeds conference in which an invitation to Stockholm was embodied.

Despite the dearth of news from Petrograd and other centres we are in a position to know that the Russian capitalist class still hold the field, both economically and politically. If it were not so, then M. Kerensky, clearly an agent of the Russian ruling class, would have been removed long ago. Indeed, his election could never have been even mooted by the victorious proletariat.

Signs are not wanting that the workers out there are already losing strength, as the following words issued in manifesto form by the Council of Soldiers' and Workers' Deputies to the Commander of German troops on the Russian front in reply to the pourparlers with a view to concluding peace, bear witness:

"He has forgotten that Russia knows that the overthrow of her Allies would mean the overthrow of Russia and the end of her political liberty." Daily Chronicle, 10.6.1917.

Such words are hardly indicative of class-consciousness and form strong contrast to the much-lauded "no annexation, no indemnity" pronouncement.

When, too, it is pointed out that just prior to the issuing of this statement a meeting of the self-same deputies had stood up and vociferously cheered M. Kerensky, the new figurehead of Russian oppression, it will become increasingly apparent that in giving trust to such a body the Russian worker is relying upon the proverbial broken reed.

Small wonder, then, that the labour hacks in this country are so anxious to assist in their usual slimy, game of confusing working-class minds and conflicting vital issues.

If proof should be wanted of Kerensky's little game ― and, needless to say, he has been pointed to as a genuine Socialist by the prostitute Press ― it is contained in the following extract from an Order of the Day issued by the wily Minister of War to the Russian troops:

"Remember that whoever looks behind, stops, or draws back will lose everything. Do not forget that if you defend not the honour, liberty, and dignity of the country your names will be cursed. The will of the people must rid the country and the world of violators and usurpers. Such is the high deed to which I call you."― " Daily News, 28.5.17.

It, would appear as though Kerensky's mortal fear lest the wretched soldiers look back is prompted by a dread that his own game might be discovered. The chances are, too, that if he, the Russian soldier, stands to lose everything, he will also be losing his chance of a German bullet. Certain it is that enough evidence has been forthcoming to conclusively prove the reluctance of a very large proportion of the Russian Army to continue the senseless slaughter which has transformed the European plains into vast graveyards.

(Socialist Standard, July 1917: www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/1910s/1917/no-155-july-19...)